By Mary O’KEEFE
John Drayman, former Glendale city councilmember and former Montrose Shopping Park Association board member, was in court on Tuesday to discuss a plea agreement. Montrose Shopping Park Association has accused Drayman of embezzling from its Harvest Market. The agreement reached on Tuesday had been accepted by both sides and required Drayman to plead guilty to three felonies as well as other stipulations; however, on Friday morning Judge Stephen Marcus of the Los Angeles Superior Court rejected that agreement.
The case will now go to trial beginning on Nov. 4.
The district attorney stated the requirements for the plea agreement included Drayman admitting his guilt in the embezzlement of funds from the Montrose Shopping Park Association, tax fraud and perjury. He would also be barred from running for any future public office and have to perform 300 hours of community service. There was no jail time in the agreement, which was something the judge did not think was fair.
Judge Marcus referred to a letter written by members of the MSPA as well as another letter written earlier by Dale Dawson, the organization’s executive director. The letters presented the desire for Drayman, a former member of the MSPA, to admit to his guilt of embezzlement, to pay restitution and to “lose his freedom.” In what form was not clear.
The discussion of more community services hours did not sway the judge from his position.
“It [seems] even if it were 1,000 hours of community service this court would not be satisfied,” said Susan Schwartz, deputy district attorney.
Marcus said he felt that although the prosecution was going for an alleged embezzlement of $304,000 he thought it was much more than that.
“I believe it was more than this, it is more like a half a million [or more],” he said.
He based his calculation on an MSPA letter that stated the Harvest Market had lost $100,000 a year for each of the seven years Drayman was in charge.
“We have a range from $304,000 to in excess of $900,000,” Schwartz said.
She added that a former Internal Revenue Service officer and a member of the DA staff had investigated and both came up with that range of funds. Schwartz went with the lower amount because it is the amount that could be more easily proven.
Marcus continued to stress his feeling the amount was higher and needed to be dealt with in the same manner as he would other cases.
Bottom line: although the judge was sensitive to the MSPA’s position of avoiding more unwanted publicity for fear it would hurt business, he did not see anyway a plea agreement could be made without jail time.
“This is my principle position I cannot give him no jail time,” Marcus said.
For history on this case go to search Drayman.